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Crasher - It's a Trap
Published Wednesday, April 27, 2011 in the San Diego Reader
After first hearing Interrobang’s set at O’Connell’s a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but suspect occult affiliations. The quartet sounded like Tortoise loosely covering Jobim tunes for a traveling freak and medicine show somewhere in Eastern Europe. Probably their jam sessions were fueled by cold shots of armadillo blood while chanting incantations from Rasputin’s personal notebook. Possibly they were high-ranking officials in the Golden Dawn. At the very least they worshipped Moloch.
So, it came as no surprise when, upon arrival at their City Heights house party the following night, I was subjected to a rigorous initiation process. Like the others present, I was made to take the mark of the beast by choosing from a basket of temporary dinosaur tattoos. The birthday girl, Caroline, had gotten engaged that afternoon to Interrobang guitar/keyboardist Matt and proudly displayed her ring as she seared the terrible lizard onto my arm. As I write this several days later, the grinning purple triceratops on my right wrist shows no sign of fading. To further complicate the hex, several of my fingers were bound with woven Chinese handcuffs, exacerbating the boozing process while my inner Admiral Ackbar could only look on screaming, “It’s a trap!” A quasi-drunk initiate appeared in the kitchen with four crucifixes drawn in Cholula hot sauce on his cheeks and forehead. Clearly, the human sacrifice would be coming soon.
Instead, a dance party erupted to “Stayin’ Alive” in the dining room. The shimmy was short-lived but intense, the kind of outburst I’d pictured when I first registered to vote years ago. I had selected “Other” for political alliance, penciled in “Dance Party,” and was forced to settle for “a real party” if I intended to cast my ballot. What other party is there?!
On the porch, several people smoked and talked. “You look like that one guy!” a girl told me. “You know, from 101 Dalmatians. Daniel something…” “Jeff Daniels!” someone interjected. “Like from Dumb and Dumber.” It wasn’t the most flattering or even accurate likeness I’ve been accused of, but then, neither is the usual “that one guy from Lost.” “The only person I’ve been compared to is a character in Apocalypto,” said Art, Interrobang’s marimba player. “And here’s why.” He showed us his driver’s license photo. “You look like Mogli,” someone said. In long hair and dark skin, he certainly could have passed in the right light for a blood-thirsty, baby-killing Mayan warrior. But was Art honestly suggesting we cut to the sacrifice already? Before the birthday song? While we still had whiskey left to drink?!
Luckily, Caroline shifted the subject with a brief history of the interrobang. “It’s a combined question mark and exclamation point that was available on some typewriters in the ’70s,” she explained. I felt alarmed that the university which had given me a degree in English never felt the need to mention it. Did this reflect on the dismal state of the American education system or my own ineptitude? Did they believe I could make it in this world without the dual “WTF? WOW!” of the interrobang?!
Inside, Caroline ignited the sparklers on her birthday cake and everyone sang the song. A handful of friends broke into a perfect barbershop harmony on the last line followed by a chant of “Shot! Shot! Shot!” After several ounces of the sacrament, we made our way outside to continue the smoking rituals. Sate with vice, we took up instruments in the living room and proceeded to invoke Baphomet with angular, improvised jams.
word vomit on #occupySD from #SanDiego mayoral candidates. except one in particular. The San Diego General Assembly have stated that we are politically autonomous, so I do not want to seem like I am endorsing one of these people over the other.
The Lincoln Club of San Diego County sponsored the first mayoral debate to feature the four leading candidates on the evening of January 13. Councilmember Carl DeMaio, district attorney Bonnie Dumanis, congressman Bob Filner, and assemblyman Nathan Fletcher debated for roughly an hour on issues that ranged from pension reform to jobs creation.
Two questions pertained to the Occupy San Diego movement and the actions of the San Diego Police Department, which has been accused of using excessive force against peaceful protesters. The debate’s moderator stated that four Occupy protesters who interrupted Mayor Sanders’s state of the city address earlier last week were removed, arrested, and allegedly charged with a felony conspiracy. “Is it appropriate for the SDPD to arrest peaceful protesters on felony charges?” the moderator asked. Below are each of the candidates’ responses.
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Here’s my article in the San Diego Reader about Aquaponic farming.
Here's the Deal - O'Connell's Pub
Published Wednesday, April 27, 2011 in the San Diego ReaderO’Connells Pub and Nightclub
1310 Morena Boulevard, Linda Vista 619-276-5637
“People are always telling me this bar reminds them of a place back home,” says Rick LaLama, who owns O’Connell’s with his wife Lorrie. “No matter where they’re from, it always reminds them of a place back home.”
The familiarity of the cozy Irish dive has much to do with its generic decor — a customary hodgepodge of beer signs, banners, and green lighting. Established in the 1970s, O’Connell’s is located on humdrum Morena next to a Shell station. Giant shamrock logos and neon green trim suggest a leprechaun strip joint, but the only use you’ll likely find for those stray dollar bills is tipping your amiable bartenders. The LaLamas took over in January 2005 and renovated the bar to include a spacious live music area that hosts local and touring acts several nights a week.
“We’re a cross between a neighborhood bar and a live-music venue,” LaLama says. “If you’re a good band, we’re going to bring you in.”
Mirroring the tripartite splendor of the shamrock, O’Connell’s is divided into three sections. The entry/game room holds darts, foosball, and two well-maintained pool tables (with 19–21 ounce cues for you sharks). Next, the elongated and bar offers daily specials on shots ($1), Rolling Rock cans ($2), and Pabst Blue Ribbon ($2 pints, $4 tallboys, $6 pitchers). In addition, the fastidious beer drinker can choose from 17 bottled beers and 10 standard brews on tap. The adjacent music space seats about 30 behind an open hardwood dance floor.
Weeklies include Monday-night blues jams, Tuesday open mics, karaoke Thursdays ($2 Pacifico/Tecate, $3 Jäger), and country/Americana Sundays with Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash and Lightning Train ($3 Shiner Bock bottles and Jim Beam shots).
On one recent evening, locals Interrobang played Latin-infused post-circus gypsy rock on hollow-body guitar, keys, marimba, and drums. The Saint Cloud Sleepers (3/5 of A Scribe Amidst the Lions, plus one) headlined. Exploring a darker sound with the Scribe guys, pianist Carson White crooned like the lovechild of Amanda Palmer and that Bright Eyes guy (though considerably less whiny).
Despite its workaday ambiance, O’Connell’s distinguishes itself from the myriad Irish dives in this world with consistently clean bathrooms, which even boast locking stall doors. Hey, those dancing leprechauns have to butter up somewhere.
— Chad Deal
Cover: free to $8
Hours: 11:30 a.m. till 2 a.m., 10 A.M. TILL 2 A.M. Sundays
Happy Hour: until 8:30 P.M. daily